On a recent family day out to a local theme park that specializes in animals, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised to find that while the kids loved seeing all the animals in the “wild,” that wasn’t what enamored them the most. They loved the street party held in the early evening that included Latin-inspired music and colorfully-dressed dancers, who encouraged everyone in the crowd to sing and dance with them. We even had to stay in the park well after we were ready to leave because they wanted to participate in the next show as well.
Though their love for the music show was unexpected at an animal park, I didn’t mind at all. So much of our lives revolve around music and memories, and I’m thrilled that they are in to it already. How many times do you hear a song and it instantly brings back a great memory and puts a smile on your face when you least expect it? Maybe you heard “Instanbul, not Constantinople” and thought of high school volleyball bus rides to away games? Or “I Gotta Feeling” comes on and you are reminded of nights out with girlfriends? What about any song by Madonna triggering thoughts of that weekend your parents went out of town and your older cousins came to babysit??!?! Though now, we often sing songs the kids like best – classic children’s songs, pop rock, and LOTS of movie soundtracks – it doesn’t matter. To me, we’re making new memories.
Our kids are learning that it can be refreshing, especially when we’re all at our wit’s end, to sing like nobody’s listening. Right now, one of the girls’ favorite country songs is, “My Church” by Maren Morris. The song talks about how good it makes you feel to roll down the windows, turn it up, and “play the highway FM.” So that’s what we do…we roll down the windows, turn up the music, and yell, “Can I get a hallelujah” at the top of our lungs.
In my girls’ baby books, I have listed songs that I sang relentlessly when they were first born. I know…poor girls. I sang, “Day Drinking” by Little Big Town religiously the summer after my twins were born (wishing thinking at its very finest). And what was released on the twins’ actual birthday that I also sang all summer? American Kids by Kenny Chesney. What’s ironic about that song is that the lyrics reference so many songs that I remember listening to with my parents as a child – Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen, Pink Houses by John Mellencamp and anything by the Rolling Stones.
As we were waiting to pay for parking at the animal theme park, the parking attendant started singing, “Let it Be” by the Beatles while the car on the other side gathered their payment. Without batting an eye, I joined in with him and we sang the rest of the song together. And you know what I was thinking about? On my 16th birthday, my Dad turned up the music and somehow convinced all these teenage girls to sing and dance around the house to all his favorite Beatles’ songs. When the parking attendant and I finished singing, he looked at me and said, “Go enjoy the day with your family. The parking is on me today.” So sing it loud, Mamas, because not only is it good for your soul, but it might be good for someone else’s, too.